Offering a fusion of traditional country crossed with a gritty twist, Hillside Outlaws represent a sound anda way of life that is about embracing each journey, doing the opposite of what’s expected, and having goodtimes along the way. Formed in the hills of Penticton, British Columbia, the Hillside Outlaws came to be after lead singer and guitarist Louis Bigras won his division of the Road to Rockin’ River Talent Contest and was chosen toperform at the festival in 2016.
After playing at the festival, Bigras began collaborating with drummer Erik Galata and bass player Carlos Jiminez before the introduction of lead guitarist Langley Jackson into the group made its core complete. With shared musical inspirations like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Brothers Osborne to go along with a common goal of entertaining audiences, Hillside Outlaws have come to be defined by live shows that exist in a place where fast energy and meaningful songs meet. They just released their debut EP Country Jukebox. I had a chance to chat with them, interview below:
Let’s start off by telling us about you?
We are a group of small-town guys with big dreams. We have a wide range of influences from our lead singer Louis’ old-time country roots with Waylon to our lead guitarist Langley’s rock and roll past listening to Motorhead. The rhythm section came as a package deal as our bass player Carlos and our drummer Erik have been friends since grade school and have played in a number of rock bands through the years. Mix this all up with a bit of grit and you’ve got yourself the pure sound that is Hillside Outlaws with a real classic feel.
You just released your debut EP Country Jukebox. Tell me about it.
Country Jukebox is a very special album to us. It encompasses a wide range of emotions from the energetic “Girls in Trucks” to the romantic “Fairy Tales” all the way to the title track which is our ode to the country music legends.
You just put out a music video for your single released in June “Hair of a Dog”. Tell me about that song? And your video.
The song is about how as performers, our lives revolve around those moments when were on stage and sometimes days and even weeks will go by when we can’t get that rush. It’s a different take on that old adage “the hair of the dog that bit you” except in our case, music is our drug of choice and we’re constantly craving that high that comes from the crowd. It is basically a thank you song to the people who come to shows and really give us that energy and vibe. They all think they’re at the show to see us but really we are there to see them because without their energy, we as musicians couldn’t thrive.
The video is a very neat depiction of what it’s like as a new artist or band trying to make your way in this industry. All of us have had to work those mind-numbing jobs – sometimes 2 or 3 jobs at the same time – just to be able to afford the tools needed to go out and try to get your music heard. We really wanted to show that hard work and perseverance will pay off in the end. The moral of the video is to always chase your dreams and to dream big.
Who are some of your musical influences?
We have many different influences that come through in our individual styles. Carlos is from El Salvador, he has a certain Latin flair – lots of Carlos Santana. Then we have Langley Jackson, whose early days were spent listening to Motorhead. You can see a reference to this by the rather large tattoo on his arm. Erik has a lot of classic rock influences like Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughan, while Louis has a lot of deep country roots such as The Highwaymen and Hank Williams Sr.
You finished as finalists in the Breakthrough Project 2018, tell me a little bit about that? And how it felt to be finalists.
It was just an honor to get that kind of recognition, especially in a large city where there is an enormous amount of talent we had to compete with. Contests like these really allow you to find out who you are, along with your strengths and weaknesses. It especially showed us how to stay humble. We had been on a hot streak leading up to the finale and it was good to take a step back and realize that there is still work to be done. The winner had a great show, so losing to her was easy to bear especially since she is also a terrific human being. The whole experience was amazing and it helped us grow as a band.
Do you have any plans of touring in the near future?
Touring is definitely in our future. Now that we have some traction from this new ep, it’s time to strike. We are ready to hit the road and really branch out. We can’t wait to see new faces and make new friends all over the world.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
Our next single, “Girls in Trucks” will hit Canadian country music radio on October 1st! Outside of that, the rest of 2018 will consist of a few more shows but mainly heading back to the rehearsal studio. We plan to fine tune our show to make it bigger and better than ever to get ready for the New Year. We are very proud of all we have achieved but this is only the beginning. We will continue to write, record and tour for as long as there are people to listen. We have amazing support from our fanbase and it is constantly growing. Wherever we go, our goal is to make every show as fun and exciting as it can possibly be.
You can also check them out on all social media!